08 September, 2011

Hey, You Got Your Back To The Future In My Advertisements

It’s a tale as old as time...

In 1985 a ne’er-do-well named Marty McFly, stumbles into an eccentric inventor, Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown, who’s testing out his latest creation, a time traveling DeLorean (complete with Flux Capacitor).

Long story short, including a Sports Almanac, a few Biff Tannens and even a trip to the old West, the Back to the Future trilogy is a great franchise that SHOULD NEVER EVER BE REMADE.

My favorite of the series, Back to the Future 2, actually takes place in the future; the far-away time of 2015. A distant year where none of us will ever be around to… wait a second it’s 2015? Not 2115? Hmm, alright then.

Within four years, we’ll all be in flying cars and getting attacked by giant 3D JAWS 19 promos. In all actuality, pretty sure none of that will be happening.

Perhaps in preparation for reaching the year 2015, or better yet just by coincidence, themes and characters from the Back to the Future franchise have started to show up.

It happened innocently enough when the following “viral” video started popping up.

What could this mean? The DeLorean, Doc Brown, Garbarino

Despite nerds everywhere looking as this as a sign for a B2F series or a new movie all together, it turned out to be the teaser for a new Garbarino campaign featuring Christopher Lloyd reprising his best role since Uncle Fester.

They can still hope though can’t they?

Something must be in the air as well as murmurs have begun appearing that McFly’s signature shoes in B2F2 may be being released soon from Nike for 2011. An ominous video provided by a familiar faced YouTube account seems to point to the iconic shoes being real and waiting in a non-descript closet.

With four years to go until we reach B2F2’s 2015, why are advertisers and brands jumping onto this franchise now? Is this foreshadowing a greater marketing effort to come? Can someone explain 1.21 Gigawatts?

Sean Sutherland, Account Executive/Still Waiting For His Hoverboard

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25 August, 2011

Cops Prove They Can Rhyme Again

The following stills are either from an upcoming American remake of a Japanease Horror movie "Ghost Cop" or from three tv spots from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Labor Day campaign " Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."

You decide.

Alright, it's pretty obvious here, despite how cool the thought of a horror film called "Ghost Cop" is these are stills from a new campaign, "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."

This takes the usually ridiculous or threatening campaigns they run into a new, creepy direction.

This raises another question, are these ads really effective? Does a rhyming tagline like "Don't Drink and Drive, Arrive Alive" really do anything to decrease drunk driving arrests or deaths?

Perhaps, just the fact that these ads exist are enough to hammer home how serious this issue truly is. They may not be the best creative, but the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign's mere existence does a great service to educating the public.

Seriously though, "Ghost Cop" would be pretty sweet.

Sean Sutherland, Account Executive/Painted himself into the wall of his office once...(didn't work)

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06 July, 2011

C'mon, Brands!

We've all seen it happen.

An errant, rogue tweet appears and it is SUPER-EFFECTIVE, causing stunned silence and shaking heads. Within minutes, negative comments and tweets flood in condemning the brand and the offending update.

Quicker than you can hit the "Prnt Scrn" button, the offending Brand's social media teams scramble to investigate and eliminate, hoping that they can spare themselves and the company they represent from any damages caused by the thoughtlessness of a single ill-conceived tweet.

I understand the issues at play here; when I first got my smart-phone I was constantly updating my Facebook or Twitter just because I had thought of something interesting or funny. And, with advances in science and technology, instead of having to wait until I got back to my laptop or computer, I can just instantly record this apparently brilliant thought through my phone.

Maybe that’s exactly the problem- the ability to update social media sites as soon as the thought passes our brains. We no longer have a chance to realize that our clever post may not be as funny as we originally thought.

This seems to be happening a lot lately: companies or brands pulling a social media ‘faux pas’ and then scrambling to apologize and move past it.

In a world where communications can happen instantly and literally everything you've done online has the potential to live eternally, why are brands/companies not giving their updates a second thought before hitting the post button?

Pardon me if I borrow a bit from SportsCenter's “C'mon, Man!” but it makes me want to shout: "C'mon, Brands!"

Entenmann’s, more known for delicious donuts and cakes than for its social media presence, is the latest to put its virtual foot in its mouth with their #notguilty tweet.

Without question the Casey Anthony case is a sad, sad event. When news hit earlier this month of the not guilty verdict, everyone was weighing in on Twitter about the verdict using the #notguilty hashtag.

Entenmann’s social team, obviously looking for any opportunity to get their brand more visibility, concocted the following misguided tweet.

After taking a second to allow their brains to catch up with their fingers, they removed the tweet and not only apologized in a follow-up tweet but also in a second tweet with a note saying how sincerely sorry they were for offending people.

C’mon, Brands!

How many times is this going to happen?

How long until companies learn to predict what people will find funny and what they’ll find offensive?

Judging by the high frequency with which this has been happening lately, I speculate that it will be a long time before brands get wise and realize they can’t piggy back on hashtags to build their audiences and need to watch what they tweet.

Brands need to build their audiences the old fashioned way: by being responsive and forthcoming with content; not shoot for an “ironic-cool” vibe by making light of a serious issue.

With the amount of news-coverage that happens after all of these mistake tweets, you’d think that companies would learn from their compatriots and tighten the belts on their social media teams.

For some freakin’ reason, they don’t.

C’mon, Brands!

Simply put – go back to a simpler time and think before you tweet or update your company’s social media presences. Doesn't anyone remember what happened to Imus?
Despite how quickly you believe you can post and delete an update, someone can just as fast take a screenshot and upload it anywhere they want.

It’s great that you’re on those channels to begin with, just remember to play by the rules like everyone else. Or, do what you want, and enjoy the backlash.

Either way, we'll all be waiting and watching for the next Kenneth Cole...

Sean Sutherland, Associate Account Executive/Keyshawn Johnson Imitator

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26 May, 2011

Rally, Fans - Rally!

In case you've been living under a rock for the past month, you may have heard about a massive hack perpetrated on Sony and their Qriocity service by a splinter group of hacker collective Anonymous.

The mid-April leak of sensitive user data affected some 77 million PSN users and shut the system down for nearly a month restricting PSP and PS3 users to single player gaming experiences, if not locking them out from whole games entirely. Fans and gamers around the world were outraged, concerned, and, as it got down to the end of the fiasco, defensive.

All of this happened with Sony's flagship spokesperson, Kevin Butler, undergoing radio silence on twitter.

See, despite initially fumbling the ball when it comes to being up front with the extent of the damage, Sony have come forward several times over the past month giving incremental updates to customers and their fans. Sony has been honest and thoughtful when it comes to their fans in the face of this multi-billion dollar security breach.

And now they are seeing dividends.

A recent study conducted via GameSpot's Trax, the video-game industry's most advanced, real-time market-intelligence tool, wherein they surveyed 2,285 gamers who own Playstation 3s about their feelings about the PSN outage.

Despite being unable to fully use their machine, over 80 percent surveyed said they were very or somewhat likely to return to their PS3s online again following the data breach and downtime and, better yet, fewer than 10% had jumped ship to competitor Microsoft's Xbox Live service.

This, in my opinion, outlines why it's great to have fans but better to convert those same fans into brand stewards.

Sony's fan base has rallied behind their injured company, defending them on forums and sharing any incremental news they can find about the beleaguered behemoth in hopes of inspiring other fans to keep their wits about them.

This should be the goal for all brands; creating a fan base so behind you that no matter the news, they will come to your aid. Fan's that fight for your brand, engage with your brand, and talk about your brand online and off.

Despite the drop in stock price, Sony has maintained their foothold in the video gaming market and cemented their place for years to come due to the time spent informing and nurturing of their fan base.

Other companies should take note.

Of course, the offer for free games and identity protection certainly helps...

Sean Sutherland, Associate Account Executive/Qriosity? Really?

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16 May, 2011

Kegasus vs. Get Your Preak On

With the running of the 136th Preakness Stakes coming this weekend, I thought it might be fun to get people’s takes on Preakness advertising since it’s “Rebrand.” And when I say rebrand, I mean the advertising that’s supported the second leg of Horse Racing’s Triple Crown since it was transformed from a Bacchanal to just a big festival. What do I mean when I say Bacchanal?

That MASN (Mid-Atlantic Sports Network) banner that was on the screen from about 0:51-1:04, as that guy tried to remember which appendages should face down, yeah, we designed that. And it got viewed almost 360,000 times. Oh, and don’t think this is only a Baltimore thing. They do it at the Kentucky Derby too, with the same varying degrees of success.

So up first is the first TV spot in 2011 Preakness “Be Legendary” campaign, featuring Kegasus, Lord of the Infield Fest. Apologies for not knowing the agencies who created these campaigns. I was doing this post on the fly. But if you know who created the campaigns or would like to claim credit for them, please do so in the comments sections.

Number two is the “Get Your Preak On” campaign for the 2010 Preakness, featuring…mouths? This was after the Preakness had canceled the BYOB policy prior to the 2009 Preakness, and instead hosted a festival-style concert and a bikini contest, and offered a $20 all-you-can-drink mug for 2010. This one was posted by the Maryland Jockey Club.


And finally, here’s a commercial for last year’s Belmont Stakes. I would say it has a decidedly different tone, and it was posted by the New York Racing Association. 

Okay, you may notice the Preakness and Belmont commercials go in slightly different directions. So something we should note is that the Maryland Horse Racing industry has been struggling for a few years now, and the Preakness goes a long way to supporting Maryland Horse Racing for the entire year. That’s one reason why ticket sales are enormously important for the Preakness. And after eliminating the BYOB policy for 2009, attendance significantly dropped, despite it being a gorgeous day. So these spots both highlight the efforts (concerts, contests, beer, etc.) made to get fans back on the infield. On the other hand, it looks like the Belmont Stakes organizers are not as aggressively pursuing audience attendance.

Around Baltimore people have had pretty strong feelings towards the past two Preakness campaigns, both positive and negative. So weigh in down in the comments section (you may have to click on the title of the post in our archive section to the right in order to comment).

What worked? What didn’t? Which was your favorite and why?

And finally, kudos to Fair Hill, Maryland's own Animal Kingdom, who's one third of the way to winning the Triple Crown. Let's hope he fairs just as well on his home turf...uh, dirt, that is. Besides, papa has some debts he needs to pay off. And for your information, yes, you can gamble on American Idol. But choosing your contestant on the grounds of "funniest hat" is not something I'd recommend.

--George C. Convery, Copywriter

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05 May, 2011

Animal Shelter Advertising: A New Contender

If you've ever seen an advertisement for animal shelters or other related causes, if you were just listening to the spot's music, you'd expect it to be an ad for some anti-depressant.

These spots jerk at your heartstrings; literally challenging you not to give a care.

Don’t get me wrong, they all promote very noble, important causes but the way they go about advocating for these animals, just makes me wanna cry.

I was very excited to see this new ad come out the other day from the Animal Humane Society.

According to their YouTube page, they’re a “leading animal welfare organization in the Upper Midwest engaging and serving local and regional communities of people and animals. Through its comprehensive programs and services at its locations in Buffalo, Coon Rapids, Golden Valley, St. Paul and Woodbury, Minnesota, the Animal Humane Society provides resources that compassionately serve all the stages of an animal's life.”

They’ve brought a breath of fresh air with their “I Want…” commercial.

The ad was light hearted, had talking cats, an uplifting track – a recipe for success if you ask me – all the while staying on message and promoting the cause for the adoption of shelter animals.

This works for me, it doesn’t immediately hit you that these animals are suffering in these shelters and are looking for a way out, a welcome departure from other ads. If I didn’t already have two of my own, I would most certainly consider getting my next pet from a shelter because of this ad.

Does this ad have the same effect on you? Or are you more affected by this?

Sean Sutherland, Associate Account Executive, Animal Advocate

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21 April, 2011

Tacos are 88% Beef, 12% Rude

As someone who has (thankfully) never been on the receiving side of a lawsuit about the percentage of beef in my tacos, I guess I really can't judge how severe my feelings would be hurt.

One thing I know for sure is, I certainly wouldn't respond the way Taco Bell did.

For those of you not paying attention to lawsuits in the QSR world, back in January a Montgomery, Alabama-based law firm, Beasley Allen, filed a lawsuit alleging that Taco Bell is partaking in false advertising by calling the meat they use in their tacos as "beef." The lawfirm goes on to allege that Taco Bell's beef only really contains 36% beef.

Worried, and rightly so, of the negative publicity Taco Bell would receive from this lawsuit, Greg Creed, President of Taco Bell, issued a statement, took to YouTube, AND launched a multi-million dollar Campaign dispelling the myth of their beef content brought up by the lawsuit.

From a PR standing, they handled this correctly. They got in front of the matter, made the conversation about the truth, and handled negative publicity with special offers and free tacos.

They even released the recipe!
• 88% USDA-inspected quality beef
• 3-5% water for moisture
• 3-5% spices (including salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, sugar, garlic powder, cocoa powder and a proprietary blend of Mexican spices and natural flavors).
• 3-5% oats, starch, sugar, yeast, citric acid, and other ingredients that contribute to the quality of our product.

Obviously overmatched and bested, the lawfirm correctly backed off and dropped the charges.

Now, the story could have ended right there. Both sides could have nodded agreeingly, and went home to be with their families.

Not Taco Bell. No sir.

With the dropping of the lawsuit and Taco Bell's name cleared, Taco Bell feels so slighted that they have now gone on the offensive.

Today, they ran the below full page ads in the Wall Street Journal, LA Times, and the New York Times as well had their President get back on YouTube with the video: "Beef Lawsuit Dropped, Lawyers got it wrong!"

I can understand them responding to the inital lawsuit but continuing the campaign and rubbing the fact they "won" in the face of the lawfirm just feels like overkill to me.

The damage is done, Taco Bell, take you and your parent company, Yum! Brands' increased quarterly profits and just be done with the issue. At least they didn't make the lawfirm do this:

Sean Sutherland, Associate Account Executive/Fan of the Cheesy Gordita Crunch (regardless of the reel beef percentage)

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18 April, 2011

Intern Sweatshop: How Do You Using Social Media?

I remember when I thought that Facebook was pointless. I had the idea it was only used for people who were in college, and I wasn’t in school so I didn’t see a reason to sign up. People convinced me to check it out, and told me that more than just students were using it. Now my mother posts more on Facebook than I do.

The point is that everyone is using social media today, and it is used for more than just telling people what is on your mind. Social media can be used for many different reasons including locating people, gathering information, advertising, as a resume of sorts, but most importantly as a tool to connect with other people.

Think of what happened in Egypt as a prime example. A Google executive Wael Ghonim started a Facebook page that called for protests on January 25th, which is now known as the “Day of Wrath.” He called for the protests in response to the violent beating death of an Egyptian businessman, who was beaten to death after he planned on exposing corruption in the government. The page was named after the man who died, and was called “We are all Khaled Said.” Ghonim was arrested on January 28th and was released twelve days later. The rest is history.

I remember following a New York Times list on Twitter that posted people live in Tahrir Square as the news Mubarak had stepped down. One woman posted that she couldn’t stop laughing and crying at the same time, and I could follow Egyptian’s reactions as they were happening in real-time. It was so moving that I almost cried myself.

Ghonim used social media to broadcast his message, and gather people to form a revolution. This has spawned many other similar events in the Middle East such as Libya, Bahrain, and Yemen; and others are just now beginning to quell into a true social movement for change.

Social media allows for someone to get a message out quickly, and to a large number of people. Word spreads quickly on Facebook and Twitter, and news is almost instantaneous. With the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan the news of the event came from social media first, with the actual news second going so far as to cite what they were seeing on Twitter as sources.

What do you think it would have been like on 9/11 if Facebook and Twitter were around then, and were used in the capacity that they are today? It could have been much easier for people to find out if their loved ones were okay via social media avenues. Imagine if social media was around during the times of the Titanic?

It is clear that social media is changing the way that information is disseminated. The news that Michael Jackson died shut down Twitter for a short period of time. This is an example of how often today people get their news from social media and from their friends. Who better to trust than your friends on social media?
Advertising has been changed tremendously and most companies now have social media sites. Even so, some companies have yet to utilize this avenue effectively for marketing purposes, they are left trying to answe the question: How does a Facebook page actually translate to sales?

The bottom line is that social media has an enormous impact on how societies today communicate with each other. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world, and it is continuing to grow. It has become an avenue for unprecedented open communication. I think we have just now tipped the iceberg for how it will be used in the future. The question is… how do you use social media?

Robert Devereux , Account Executive Intern/Inquisitive Soul

Last Heard on the Intern Sweatshop: Apparently Our Custmers Like Our Crappy Commercials

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30 March, 2011

Apparently Our Customers Like Our "Crappy" Commercials--Yours, 5-Hour Energy

There’s no shortage of tired people in America. According to Science Daily, the average person drinks about three cups of coffee on weekdays, with little difference between teenagers and seniors. Along with coffee, something else many Americans can't get enough of is convenience. So in 2004, Living Essentials seized this opportunity to deliver both caffeine and convenience and create an entirely new market segment, with 5-hour ENERGY.

The product itself is two ounces and comes in five flavors, with no sugar, four calories, B-Vitamins, and an energy blend that does include caffeine (ConsumerLabs.com found the amount to be 207 mg or about 2 cups of generic coffee). There are Extra Strength and Decaf versions too. This is actually Living Essentials second product as they released Chaser Plus, a homeopathic hangover remedy, in 2000.

Now many people, including myself, find the commercials are hokey and annoying, which 5-hour ENERGY even calls attention to on their website. However, straight- forward messaging that consumers can understand is the stated goal of the commercials, and must resonate with those seeking a convenient and purportedly "healthy" pick-me-up. According to the commercials, over seven million units are sold every week. And 5-hour ENERGY shined in 2009, as they controlled about 70% of the energy shot market, had more than $300 million in sales, and were listed as one of “America’s Hottest Brands” by Ad Age. I did make a trial purchase out of curiosity with unsatisfying results. Unfortunately, I don’t remember if I saw the commercial prior to the purchase or if I bought it solely because of the name.

Most of the commercials feature working adults in various settings, often featuring women, as the company believes they are under-served in the energy market. The approach is vastly different than other energy drink campaigns, which often feature action shots or hip lifestyles for their younger demographic.

While this type of advertising has been uber-successful for energy drinks such as Red Bull and Monster, you can’t take away anything from Living Essentials’ success. The company understands their consumers and, even with low-production value commercials, they get the message across clearly and (if sales numbers are any indication) effectively. Their theory is that consumers shouldn’t watch a commercial and be totally lost as to what the underlying message of it is. The clearer, and in this case cheesier, the message, the better chance you have at reaching your audience.

If you have doubts about this type of advertising, just look at local personal injury attorney commercials. Their commercials may look cheap, but I've been watching some of these guys on TV for a decade or more. Need further proof? Then how about one of the most successful multinational corporations of the last 150 years: Proctor & Gamble. Secret Deodorant has been around since 1956. Carl Sperber, creative director of Living Essentials, formatted the commercials around P&G's old-fashioned advertising. Even as technology changes the advertising landscape at blazing speeds, apparently what worked 60 years ago can still be effective today.

Advertisers may look at 5-hour ENERGY commercials and be unimpressed by their lack of computer graphics or expensive talent, but the average consumer obviously isn't. Personally, I still want to see something that "looks good" on screen, but there's a valuable lesson to be learned here. Sometimes, simple, cheap and direct wins the race. It also probably helps to win races when you're loaded up on enough caffeine to explode a rhinoceros heart. So, there's that too.

--Stephen Telljohann, Relatively Chilled-Out Intern...Seriously

Last Heard from in the Intern Sweatshop: The Rise and Fail of Advertising

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29 March, 2011

Visigoths Hate Nerds Too

Kudos to Capital One (and their agency DDB Chicago I'm pretty sure) for revisiting the NCAA adaptation of their “Pillagers” Campaign, following last year’s “Ivan Brothers” commercials and Web shorts. There’s a good chance you’ve seen the “Visigoth Sports Net” spots, but you’ve probably only come across their Web content while streaming games this past March. Here’s a taste:

The humor is right up there with so many of ESPN’s classic SportsCenter spots. Of course they’re silly, but the campaign also completely plays up the attitudes and often misplaced intensity we get from sports highlights shows. And any basketball or SportsCenter fan would be totally in on the joke. In my opinion, these short doses are the perfect amount, palatable, but never so long that they become tiresome. (Something I realized after trying to watch 22 minutes of it on The Onion Sportsdome. That’s why SportsCenter has the actual sports. So you don’t realize just how ridiculous some of it all is. And believe me, I love SportsCenter.)

But the other reason I wanted to call out this campaign was to appease the part of my brain that can’t help but recognize actors I have no business whatsoever remembering. So maybe that part of your brain took a double-take at the bearded Visigoth behind the desk. And rightly so, because that weasel pelt pelt clad barbarian is none other than Donald Gibb. Yes, he was in Hancock, Bloodsport and had a recurring role on Step by Step, but you’d probably recall him most from this role:

He’s actually appeared in several “Pillager” spots, for which I’ve delighted in picking him out more with each one. So if you were wondering whatever happened to Ogre (as I’m sure almost one of you probably has), now you know.

Now I don’t think these specific spots will make people switch to Capital One, but they aren’t trying to. However, I do think this is a smart tie-in that will help more people recognize the Pillager/What’s In Your Wallet Capital One branding. And after a couple years I still enjoy this campaign on the whole, something that is becoming more and more difficult for companies to do (re: Coors Light Press Conference, e-Trade Baby).

And finally, apologies to any fellow nerds I gave flashbacks to. I hope we’ve all grown to accept our lot in lives: We’re the poorly adjusted, smartish people who make other people lots of money…and steal office supplies.

–George C. Convery, Copywriter

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23 March, 2011

Intern Sweatshop: The Rise and Fail of Advertising

Have you seen the Volkswagen commercial with the Darth Vader kid? What about the Doritos commercials with the pug bursting down the door? Companies are constantly pumping out new commercials aiming to boost the popularity of their brand/product but are they truly working? Are you becoming more annoyed instead of more interested with seeing the same commercials over and over? Do you think you’ll remember the Beiber vs. Ozzy Best Buy commercial six months down the road? The main question we have to ask ourselves is: Do commercials these days have any depth?

Within the context of advertising, depth applies to ads that make the viewer think past what the ad is straight-forwardly about and look deeper as to what's going on.

Brands seem to be adhering to the "next big thing” concept with their ads; so much so as I want to label these kind of spots as “pop commercials.” These are the commercials that have been pumped out with the main purpose being to generate a shock value or to be the Diddy of advertising. Companies want their spots to be the talk of the town for a day, a week, or a month…Cough Rebecca Black Cough. But sometimes that doesn’t happen because they lack depth. Commercials that have some depth to them will be the ones you will always remember, the ones you save on your YouTube account or the ones you and all your friends talk about.

A great example of a running pop commercial campaign would be the E*Trade baby. The first couple commercials we thought were great and everyone enjoyed watching them. They were commercials about stocks, but we all watched them for the shock value of that talking baby. The ones that I could watch over and over are the one where one baby sings “Broken Wings” while the other baby talks or the two that where about using the iPad and a Smartphone while he is in “solitary confinement.”

After a while, you gotta stop and ask yourself: how many times will this be funny?

I will watch new E*Trade baby commercials just to see what they do next, but if it isn’t the ones I love, I usually end up changing the channel because I’ve already seen it and It was only funny the first 2 times (if that).

Let’s talk about a commercial with some depth now. Old Spice commercials are by far my favorite spots to watch. They are the type of commercials that make you ask yourself, “What the hell did I just watch?” I have seen all of them and I think they are all genius. Old spice commercials make no sense and yet they still deliver the message of their brand and what they're promoting. Every time Old Spice puts out a commercial I feel like I am taking an adventure to Narnia. They are usually funny, so of course I want to share them with my friends or save them on my YouTube account so I will have quick access to them. These commercials are all over the place, making you want to watch them again and again because you weren’t exactly sure what you just watched the first time around; that shows you that the commercial did its job, it grabbed your attention and got you thinking about it well after it’s over.

A campaign that lives in the realm of between pop and depth are Corona ads. Corona commercials are simple and don’t have a lot going on. It’s usually two people on a beach looking at the ocean and then something comical happens; for instance A guy looks at a bunch of hot girl in bikinis playing in the water and then he ends up squirting his lime in his own face because he knows his wife was planning on doing it to him for looking. The most recent one involves two girls sitting on the beach and a bunch of footballs are thrown in front of them. This isn’t hilarious but I chuckled a little because it was still comical and a new twist on the formula. They haven’t changed the formula too much which means that it has been somewhat successful for them. Either way, I know that I will watch a new one at least once.

With companies trying to gain the attention of the people, they seem to be firing out advertisements that are for shock value the majority of the time. They want to be the “Rebecca Black” of the advertising world. Right now, she is everywhere but in a month or two (I’m hoping) everyone will have forgotten about her and her horrible, horrible song.

However, given brands track records, they’ll probably replace her with someone new and even more annoying thus furthering the never ending cycle of pop ads that fit so nicely into this disposable economy.

Last time on the Intern Sweatshop, Fired-Up Over Social Media.

Josh Pelc, Account Executive Intern/A Man Alone With His Thoughts….And A Smartphone #WINNING

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14 March, 2011

Intern Sweatshop: Fired- Up Over Social Media

Everything that you do promotes the brand “You” whether or not that you are aware of it.

How you dress, the language you use, the ways in which you behave online and the things you post on social media sites all play a part in this self-branding. People today are very quick to post their most intimate feelings, rants, and gripes on Facebook and Twitter.

To me it is just common sense that you shouldn’t put everything out there, because it then becomes available for anyone to read. This of course includes employers.

You’ve probably heard some kind of story of this sort by now: Employee posts something on their Facebook page complaining about their boss or company, and then they get fired. Not the smartest thing to do, right? This issue remains up for debate after a recent federal court case.

Recently, Dawnmarie Souza, who worked at a Connecticut ambulance company, believed she was let go due to her critical comments about her boss that she posted on Facebook. Although, American Medical Response of Connecticut, Inc., claimed they fired her because of grievances about work.

She should have been more aware of how she is perceived via her Facebook page, and familiar with who was reading her posts. Employers might actually need to teach social media awareness because of the ever-fading line of our personal and professional lives.

Feeling she was unjustly fired, Souza contacted the National Labor Relations Board who filed a lawsuit her on the grounds that her comments were protected speech under federal labor laws.

When the dust settled and the unsavory Facebook updates surfaced, the matter was settled for an undisclosed amount. The Connecticut Company’s Internet and blogging policy restricted its workers from making comments about their managers or work, which was changed under the settlement with the labor board.

This case is poised to test new grounds in labor laws and companies setting legal limits on their employee’s social media usage. What exactly should be allowed? How far can free speech protect?

Freedom is speech is a powerful tool, but it can’t save you from everything.

Employers now check social media sites before hiring any employees. People judge others all of the time and a good way to get judged is to have obscene drunk pphotos, complaints, and uncouth comments on your social media site. A person could be a great employee, but still have terrible social media content. People need to get educated about social media usage.

Since this is still such a grey area, I think employers should get their staff to sign a code of conduct, instead of trying to restrict actual postings on social media sites. This case doesn’t give free-reign to writing whatever you wish on social media sites, because there can still be consequences.

If you’re not trying to get fired or go to court over your posts, then you better play it safe and stay away from referring to your boss as “Mr. Myfacesucks” unless that’s his name of course.

The bottom line is millions of people use Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. There aren’t strict laws yet about what content is allowed on these sites about our places of employment, but this is a step in that direction.

Awareness about how you are perceived is something that is very important to examine in the workplace. Get educated about social media usage, and use some common sense.

Last time at the Intern Sweatshop, Josh Just Checked In At...

Rob Devereux, Account Services Intern/Avoiding Getting Trumped

Intern Sweatshop: Fired- Up Over Social MediaSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

10 March, 2011

Our Viral Blog Post

I'm going to keep this short and sweet.

Viral videos are a force of Internet nature that you can rarely predict or promise. So when a brand or a company thinks they're being cute or quirky and release a video featuring ingredients commonly found in other REAL viral video, it grinds my gears.

Brands, just because you hire the guy that lip syncs pop songs, feature a "double rainbow" or have a former Friends cast member kick a random dude in the groin, doesn't mean that it's a viral video.

Why don't you let your target audience or consumers determine if it's worth the viral treatment before sending out an e-blast entitled Check out our COOL, VIRAL Video?

We've been hit hard with these this week, the Smartwater one I referenced above, and just yesterday I was sent one from Arby's.

In case you're looking for some key takeaways here, I want to point out two common sense issues at play here:

1. A video you place on the web is not called a "viral video" but a "Web video." If it happens to get 600,000 hits in a day or so then yes, by all means, put on the viral crown and do yourself a dance; you have a viral video.

But in every and all situations where this doesn't happen, you have a "Web video" which is just as cool in it's own right, don't knock it.

2. There are reasons why certain videos go viral. They may contain weird, astounding, entertaining, educational, or any other adjective really. You can't bottle it, you can't coach it, it just happens.


A company releasing what they believe to be a "viral video" is proving to me that they really don't get the concept of what a "viral video" truly is.

And, in the case of the Smartwater ad, if you go down a check list and throw content into a spot because it appears in another viral spot, that's not funny, that's pandering!

If a spot is truly viral, it will go viral but don't cheapen the movement by forcing a brand sponsored spot into the world and calling it "viral" just because it has those goats that lose control of their body when freightened.

Speaking of which, have you seen that viral video? Classic.

Also, if your video is about Meningitis, HIV or Influenza, then yes, technically you do have a viral video...

Sean Sutherland, Associate Account Executive/Viral Watchdog

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07 March, 2011

Billboard Campaign Helps Catch Criminal At Large for Over a Decade

My fiancee and I noticed this billboard on I-95, on the east side of Baltimore this past President's Day. So she hopped on the website, eastcoastrapist.com, the moment we got home and visited the site several times over the next few days. This billboard was one of many posted from Connecticut to Virginia, targeting the criminal who'd been dubbed "The East Coast Rapist," and the site had received more than 71,000 hits by Friday night. Well, mission accomplished. Because according to this article (and subsequent follow-up articles) I read on The Sun this past Saturday morning, the suspect, Aaron Thomas, who had been at large for more than a decade, was arrested in less than a week.

How'd they do it? Simply. Law enforcement officials combined a very wide billboard campaign with an informative, but simple website and apprehended a criminal they'd be trying to catch since the 90s. Now granted, this was one particular case that involved an incredibly heinous series of crimes, so people would have a much stronger compulsion to give any information they might have, compared to a campaign for say Arby's or Canada Dry. But the combination of coverage, simplicity and timing yielded exactly what they were looking for--an arrest. Which makes me think you're going to see a lot more of this tactic in years come.

So quickly, why should advertisers be paying attention? (After all, that is what this blog is about.) In this day of digital media and integrated campaigns the multi-tiered approach is by far the most effective way to reach almost any target audience. But most importantly, you need to deliver one simple message, and if possible a message that reaches your audience on a deeper level. Again, "Made with real ginger" and "Big Beef 'N Cheddar" probably aren't going to evoke an emotional response from people (okay, most people, because as you well know the BBNC is awesome), but you can neatly and effectively use outdoor and print to drive your audience to the Web, where you have much more real estate. And being that the consumer has already taken the time to go to your Web site, they're obviously willing to spend a little more time with your product. So that's where you give them the stronger sell. But still don't fall into the trap of making the enormous "Why You Should Buy Our Crap" list. Keep your copy straight-forward, simple and palatable to reader.

And finally, timing. This was an investigation that had been going on since Friends was still on TV. I'm assuming investigators weren't sitting around one day when one said, Hey what about billboards and a Web site? There was a well thought-out strategy behind this, and the result speaks for itself. Any campaign you're going to invest your money in should have an intelligent strategy behind it as well. Otherwise, you're just blindly throwing money at a problem simply because you'd already bought the ad space.

But back to what's most important. Congratulations to the fine people at the FBI. I know many, many people, my fiancee included, will sleep better at night.

--George C. Convery, Copywriter

Billboard Campaign Helps Catch Criminal At Large for Over a DecadeSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

02 March, 2011

Intern Sweatshop: Josh Just Checked-in at...

My friend told me a story the other day of why he deleted his Foursquare from his iPhone and decided he would never use it again. His story made me rethink my own usage of one of the more fun social network games out there and look at the larger issue at play.

My friend had innocently checked in at about a dozen or so places as he had a bunch of stuff to do that day and wanted to see if he could grab any coveted mayoralships. Everything was going fine until he checked-in at lunch for a business meeting and on Foursquare.

Before he finished his meal, about thirty minutes after he checked-in, someone showed up at the restaurant JUST to ask him a question. Confused and slightly worried, he asked, “How did you know I was here?”

The person shrugged and responded with “I checked your Foursquare.” Creepy!

It seems this person was following my friend around all day by using Foursquare to track him down. This person was always one step behind my friend and had driven to each spot my friend checked-in at in hopes of tracking him down and asking him this million dollar question. Super Creepy!

Worse yet, this person had his number and didn’t even try calling him first. At least in Scream the killer would call before he killed you. Was it really that important that you had to stalk him instead of calling him?!?!

This whole ordeal begs the question, is where you are really the smartest thing to advertise on your social networking sites?

We share ourselves all over the Internet with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and all the other social media outlets that are at our disposal and now we have a couple outlets that let people know where we are at all times; the two top outlets being Facebook Places and Foursquare. These applications were explicitly created to allow you to tell your friends where you are, at what time, and who you’re with.

You can check in at bars, restaurants, department stores, highways, etc (Yes, I said highways). With these outlets people can even create check-ins for their homes with their address on it.

Personally, I do not want someone knowing where I live or when I am not at home. I feel like this could lead to some serious stalking or burglary. With these apps you are telling someone “This is where I live and I am not home. So if you want to rob me, go for it.”Or “I am here and I may be here for the next couple hours.”

Ironically, Please Rob Me exists to do just that.

This site was created as a campaign to bring this serious issue and threat to everyone’s attention. They have done a great job spreading awareness of how serious this issue is. But will people really heed their warning? Does the thrill of the hunt of badges and the prospect of gaining 10% off at a yogurt stand through a mayoral incentive outweigh the possible risks?

I used to check-in a lot; to gain “badges”, “mayorship” and the coupons you get with being “the mayor of OMG THIS IS MY FAVORITE BAR” but after hearing this story I’ve definitely made the conscious decision to cut back on my check-ins. I think my safety is more important than digital badges and free food.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe Facebook Places and Foursquare are great ways to expand social media but the people using these new outlets need to be educated more on the dangers that come with using these outlets.

So who is responsible?

Is it the responsibility of these companies to teach users how to use these outlets properly? Should parents, who have no knowledge or understanding of these social networking sites, be the ones to teach their kids? Or should the responsibility fall solely on the person crazy enough to post private information for the world to see?
Some things are private for a reason but if you put your life all over the Internet be prepared to deal with the consequences.

On a related note, these so-called “badges” hold no real value but my shiny Charizard Pokemon card is worth more than all these “badges” combined.

Josh Pelc Account Executive Intern/ Not Justin Beiber (so please stop following me everywhere I go!!!)

Intern Sweatshop: Josh Just Checked-in at...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

28 February, 2011


When the question came up, "How can we get customers in South Bend, Indiana, to come and try our delicious Margaritas?" how many ideas did they go through before they got to:

Hilarious send up of one of the largest mass suicides in recorded history!

Did they pass up a proposed idea featuring a rocket with the copy, "Take the Hacienda Challenger. It'll blow you away." Maybe a picture of a two-thumbs-up Ted Kazanski, noting, "It's Da-Bomb." Or perhaps...you know what I'll stop right there, because I think my Heaven's Gate and Branch Davidians headlines would pretty much be treading the same ground.

Now this Hacienda story is almost a week old, but in my defense I started writing this post last Tuesday.

And while Groupon's recent campaign doesn't quite measure up to Hacienda Mexican Restaurant's level of offensive stupidity, on the surface both are swimming in similar waters. Subsequently, both campaigns have been pulled.

Where Hacienda is concerned, this was just dumb. Poisoned Kool-Aid probably isn't the direction you want to go for a family restaurant. But how did they come upon this stroke of brilliant idiocy? I didn't see anywhere that this campaign was attributed to a particular agency, and comments from their VP of Sales and Marketing, Jeff Leslie, make me think this was an inside job. In the above article Leslie does place some blame on their creative process, but still pretty much bites the bullet for what amounted to a really bad decision.

Now I've had some pretty terrible ideas before, and usually someone points out why that idea is awful and my seed should stricken from the earth...often during meetings I'm not even involved in...Ken. But that makes me think this idea made it through because somebody higher up really liked it. So, again, kudos to VP Leslie for taking the pain on this, because if it wasn't his idea, it definitely had his support.

Back to Groupon. It really bothers me when companies cave on a campaign. Because much like Hacienda's billboards, the idea must have been pretty well-liked by a lot of people. The campaign was developed by industry giant Crispin Porter + Bogusky, responsible for the "Ozzy/Bieber Best Buy Buy-Back" Super Bowl commercial and Burger King's offbeat advertising for several years, among others like Microsoft and Domino's. Also, Groupon was willing to pay for Hollywood talent like Timothy Hutton, Elizabeth Hurley and Cuba Gooding, Jr. Oh, and they put up only a few million for a couple Super Bowl ads.

Translation: They REALLY liked this idea.

But, ooh people are offended. Let's kill it. Did they think people wouldn't be offended!

Save the whales: pollution is killing our planet.

Save the rain forests: pollution is killing our planet and eliminating potential undiscovered cures for a myriad diseases.

And finally, save Tibet: a culture consisting of nearly 3 million people being systematically dismantled by their own government. If Tibet were it's own autonomous nation, it would be larger than 1/3rd of the countries on the entire planet! And the Beastie Boys have been throwing concerts for them for years.


So why were they surprised? But putting that all aside, I still think it was genius. Not genius because it offended, but genius because of how much attention it brought Groupon. Think about it:

You missed the Super Bowl spot, luckily we were on the nightly news and all over the Web. Watch it again and despise us.

Oh, what do we do? WE SAVE YOU MONEY! I'm sure you've got money to spare, right?

No, well then push your offended conscience aside. Sign up. And save.

Because people love to feel like they made the right moral choice, but when money is tight, lots of people love to keep their money more. It's not the proudest outlook on humanity, but most westernized folks tend to like roofs, electricity and feeding their kids.

If you don't believe me that it's genius, take a quick look at Groupon. Now I'd been vaguely aware of Groupon for a little while, but began paying attention a few months back after frequently hearing about the service from coworkers and friends. It turns out Groupon is worth over a billion dollars, both Yahoo and Google attempted to purchase Groupon last year, and now the company is preparing an for IPO of $15 billion. You don't think a Super Bowl spot and intense media buzz will only bring them more attention--more attention than ho hum spots running during Days of Our Lives and The Price is Right.

Hacienda, seriously, what were you thinking? But nevermind that, I have this great idea where you should close all your restaurants and reopen them under the name "Hacienda Nueva" and only serve German food. Or perhaps just start offering a Crystal Burrito. Granted, Groupon could get too big too soon or go all Enron on us and completely implode. But I'd think about adding to them to your stock portfolio at least for the next year.

One more thing, apparently Greenpeace loved the Groupon ad. My mind, officially blown.

--George C. Convery, Copywriter


22 February, 2011

Intern Sweatshop: Wheat Thins > Kryspy Kreme

You’re sitting in your house watching reruns of Home Improvement when someone knocks on your door. To your surprise, a man quoting your tweet, “I love wheat thins and tuna,” drops off a pallet of snacks. That’s how Wheat Thins and their “Crunch is Calling” social media-driven campaign, brought to you by The Escape Pod, works. Kraft Foods/Nabisco’s intentions are focused on engaging a new target audience of women and men ages 25-45, an audience vastly different than their traditional consumer base of women 45 and older.

The broadcast commercials themselves are humorous and awkward for the posters/tweeters, who are ambushed by the crew. There’s also the possibility of having your picture on the box or a whole pallet of Wheat Thins--your own 30 seconds or so of fame.

Wheat Thins’ big problem was that their traditional consumers thought of them as “just a traditional cracker.” And with a different market segment for a product that had become “too familiar” another approach was necessary. Through consumer research it was found that the crunch, flavor and texture were key attractions to the new, younger audience. So in order to bring these qualities to their audience, reinforce their brand identity, and more actively engage and interact with customers, Wheat Thins turned to social media with the hope that this new campaign would stimulate comments on Facebook and Twitter and have consumers follow the brand there as well.

This reminds me of how popular Krispy Kreme donuts were back in the late 90s and early 00s. Everyone and their parents were raving about these airy donuts that were served hot and only available in the southern states. When Krispy Kreme stores opened, cars were wrapped around the outside of stores for blocks, waiting patiently for their chance to indulge. After everyone stuffed themselves, the product reached a saturation point, the hype ended and Kryspy Kreme's became just another donut. The novelty wore off. Now, I certainly enjoy donuts and milk, even though it’s been a while since I’ve had them. It’s like I forgot how awesome they are in the morning. But again, what was once a go-to morning delight is just something else to have for breakfast. And I can't say I'm not thinking about buying one while writing this, but I can’t say if that will translate into a purchase sometime soon.

Now Chick-Fil-A’s Free Breakfast Thursdays is yet another example of a company staying in touch with their customers. There was also the “I Can Handle The Heat” campaign, where just uttering those words at Chik-Fil-A would earn you a free sandwich. Then there’s the Get Spicy Chicken and Nuggets Campaign, where customers signed up online to receive a free order. Some of the campaigns included an in-store survey for direct feedback taken after the customer indulged in the free chicken delights. If you doubt the success of customer engagement, they opened 80 new restaurants in 2010 and raked in $3.5 billion in sales.

Now, merely posting on Twitter about their love of Wheat Thins may keep the brand current in customers' minds. It will be interesting to see if the campaign helps Wheat Thins remain relevant to their new target audience, or if people will still see the Wheat Thin as "just a traditional cracker." But For Twitter user 7hr33 who wrote “Leprechauns broke into my apartment stole a box of Wheat Thins I was saving for a party...is there a warranty for this?” March 17th is right around the corner. You might want to be on the lookout for a little Irish guy bearing crunchy treats. I'd want to see that commercial.

--Stephen Telljohann, Creative Department Intern with Crunch, Flavor and Texture

Last Time on the Intern Sweatshop: How Ben Found the Secret to Internet Buzz

Intern Sweatshop: Wheat Thins > Kryspy KremeSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

17 February, 2011

Pat Yourself on the Back, Internet!

There's something about the Internet. (See also: interwebs)

Yes, it's true that there are plenty of bad, evil things on the Internet. (See also: trolls, Nigerian Prince scams, dog's speaking English)

But at the same time there can exist a great force of good; a place where destruction, ridicule, and trolling just simply don't happen.

You can look at three recent examples of this.

Golden Ted
First up, the homeless man with the "Golden Voice." When his story hit the interpipes immediately the people got to working and now Ted Williams has another chance at making his life right. Huge kudos to the redditors of Reddit for pushing this story.

Red Cross: #gettngslizzerd.
This was an interesting, easily overlooked story. Gloria Huang, a Social Media specialist with the Red Cross, mistakenly tweeted on Red Cross' twitter account instead of her own, shout out to Hootsuite. Despite the "rogue tweet" getting removed by Red Cross, Michael Hayek from Dogfish Head Brewery took it upon himself to rally Dogfish Head beer fans and create a donation campaign for the Red Cross built off of the #gettngslizzerd hashtag.

No Red Cross parody twitter accounts rose from this, just a lot of people hearing the call to action from a beloved brand and doing what they could to make light of a simple, permissions error. Red Cross got donations, Dogfish Head got brand recognition, and Hootsuite even sent everybody some coozies!

Not bad, Internet.

RoboCop Comes Home (or Take that Mayor Bing, the People want Murphy)
Dead or alive, you're coming to Detroit (RoboCop Statue). What started as a tweet to Detroit's current mayor, Dave Bing, has ended in RoboCop (formally known as Officer Alex Murphy) returning to the streets in statue form. The collective Internet saw this tweet, saw Mayor Bing's response that there were no plans to erect a RoboCop statue and hopped into action by using popular crowd-funding site, Kickstarter.com. Surprise, surprise, they raised the money they needed to make this dream a reality. To see them actually build it, well that's a whole 'nother story.

And although I don't agree with the following revamp to the "Spirit of Detroit" statue, it does look kinda cool.

Just goes to show you; there are people on the Internet who dare to care and will help at a drop of hat for a cause they feel is cool, entertaining, or just the right thing to do.

So pat yourself on the back, Internet. You done good.

Also, tough call on which way of the spectrum this falls:

Sean Sutherland Associate Account Executive/Anti-Troll Troll

Pat Yourself on the Back, Internet!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

11 February, 2011

AT&T Ensures Kids Will Never Sleep again

Just got passed a link by Renegade Creative Director - Ken Hall of a new AT&T spot called "Bedtime Stories".

It was attached with this following line:

The last shot in the kids room is terrifying... Goldie hobgoblin and the bear-shaped wraiths haunt the child waiting for directions from the hive.

Here's the spot he's talking about:

I think we have a contendor for King of the Creepy ads, amirite?

It's got it all, weird plastic faced characters, creepy apathetic son who's age is indeterminate, a distant/negligent father, and of course, the 3 little pigs with wolf.

I understand the idea behind it, and the concept there definitely had some great potential, it's sad to see it come out so weird.

What other recent spots did you find creepy?

Just for good measure, here's a screencap of the monsters prior to eating the child.

Sean Sutherland Associate Account Executive/Sleeping With The Lights On

AT&T Ensures Kids Will Never Sleep againSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

08 February, 2011

And We're Live

If you were paying attention, you probably already know this from Jim's last post on rebranding but we've recently completed the transition and are now ready to reveal our new website.

Renegade Communications
Let the fanfare begin!

And to celebrate this monumentous occassion, here's a picture of Ryan dressed as a Chilean Miner and James dressed as himself. This is how we celebrate.

As you'll notice the Agency Confesses blog is getting a second home at Renegade Communications but do not worry, think of that second home as more of a vacation home; a summer house if you will. We'll still be posting all the good stuff you've come to expect from the Agency Confessional but all posts will be reposted on the new site as well.

So there you have it, our new website Renegade Communications. Please check it out and let us know what you think! Or, you'll hurt our feelings.

The Renegade Agency Confessional Blog Editorial Team
-Sean Sutherland
-George Convery
-Jim Luparello III

And We're LiveSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

02 February, 2011

The Power of Mocketing

Poking fun at your competitors in advertising campaigns is like the Slant-N-Go of the marketing playbook; a surefire hit.

Taking two familiar brands and putting them in the same spot with the purpose of exploiting or exposing a weakness of one of the brands amounts to some pretty funny commercials.

Recently we've seen it done with:
T-mobile and AT&T

Pepsi Max and Coke Zero

And who can forget Apple and PC; thanks to that campaign, I was introduced to John Hodgman and his wonderful books on important knowledge.

There's another type of mocketing going on right now, involving something right up my alley: video games.

On February 22th, a new first person shooter video game will be coming out. The problem is the market is oversaturated with FPSs.

The difference with this game, named interestingly enough Bulletstorm, is that it's not your average, gritty, hyper-modern war game. It has specifically veered away from the Halos and the Call of Dutys to carve a niche for itself as an outlandishly, over-the-top FPS. The weapons are ridiculous, the characters, the color palette, everything about it screams "don't take me seriously."

Bulletstorm, created by EA, Epic Games, and People Can Fly, has had some really great, satirical mocketing.

First up, they did a great take on Halo 3's Believe campaign. Here's the original and then what Bulletstorm did. Notice the difference? Notice the hot dogs?

Two days ago, they released the free to play PC game Duty Calls which is full of rips on the Call of Duty franchise. Here's a video of the ENTIRE GAME being played.

With each of these spots they have consistenly mocked the status quo of FPS marketing and pushed the boundaries for what consumers will find acceptable; a perfect example of a well-executed mocketing campaign.

What other brands do you enjoy showing up together?

Sean Sutherland Associate Account Executive/Professional Mocketer

The Power of MocketingSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

01 February, 2011

And Another Hobgoblin of Success Falls Victim to FedEx Efficiency

I heard John Krasinski mention something about Steve Carell and Federal Express while on the red carpet at the SAG awards and couldn't for the life of me remember what he was talking about. A quick youtube search found me a dozen spots, of which I distinctly remembered one. It left me wondering, how did I forget this pretty robust campaign?

Apparently the campaign, co-starring Joe Narciso, ran back in 2001 (thank you angelfire), when Carell's most impressive credits were The Dana Carvey Show and a psychotic Greek chef named Yorgo Galfanikos in a series called Over the Top, which starred Tim Curry (IMDB). The campaign was done by BBDO New York, who was still FedEx's agency of choice only a couple years ago. They must be doing something right. Aside from an amusing creative, they also know how to cast. Sure, they found the Carell diamond in the rough, but the following spot features Modern Family's Eric Stonestreet as a food-poisoned office worker. At this point in time Stonestreet already had a few sitcom appearances and a role in Almost Famous to his name.

And this one brings you The Daily Show's Aasif Mandvi, who'd appeared most notably in Law & Order and Die Hard with a Vengeance prior to this campaign.

Having seen it first-hand many times, I can tell you versatile actors really make talent-driven spots shine. Interestingly enough, neither of these two spots were the one I remembered. It was this spot titled "Hogan." Maybe this campaign wasn't running as much in the Mid-Atlantic. Or maybe it just wasn't running on my networks of choice at the time: Comedy Central, ESPN, Cartoon Network and Sci-Fi Channel. What?

Chime in, did this campaign pass anyone else by or did FedEx simply not advertise during Aqua Teen Hunger Force?

And Another Hobgoblin of Success Falls Victim to FedEx EfficiencySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

28 January, 2011

The Mike Rowe Effect

I'm pretty sure Baltimore's own Mike Rowe will be receiving a nice card today from Ford, perhaps something along the lines of:

Dearest Mike,

Thanks for the money!



I woke up this morning to news about Ford posting its biggest profit since 1999. Their earnings in 2010 climbed to $6.6 billion; that's a jump of $4 billion from 2009.

There are many factors that may have contributed to this, including massive recalls from Toyota, the fact that they touted that they never took money from the fed bailout of the other Big Three, and more.

In all of the articles I've read on the subject, not one attributes the success of the brand to Mike Rowe.

Come on, news outlets! Give credit where credit's due already!

Mike Rowe is at the top of his game when he's just on the streets talking with people. Ford knew this and signed him on as their brand ambassador, giving a relatable, credible face to a strong automotive company with a weary future.

This isn't the first, and it certainly won't be the last example of spokespeople bringing a boost to a brand.

I'm definitely enjoying the current batch of spokespeople/brand ambassadors invading our collective cultural lexicon.

Mayhem -

Enjoyable, funny, well-executed commercials. Keep it coming, Allstate.

The World's Greatest Spokesperson in the World -

Quirky, awkward, corny. I enjoyed the commercials leading up to the reveal of who/what was the WGSW but everything since then has been a disappointment.

What other spokespeople/brand ambassadors do you enjoy seeing? What companies/brands would you like to see go the route of Ford and get a Mike Rowe-esque bump?

And yes, I left Geico off my list since they've got so damn many spokesmen: Gecko, Caveman, Storyteller, etc.

Sean Sutherland Associate Account Executive/Official Spokesperson for Renegade

The Mike Rowe EffectSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
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